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Winter Break 2016 (Becky)

January 5, 2017

I’ve discovered how easy it is for a holiday to be ruined. While there’s nothing I can do about a stomach bug running through the family over a break, the truth is this: the majority of ways to ruin a break are within my control. Over the 7 years that I’ve had school aged kids home on breaks, I’ve been guilty of holding to unattainable expectations then feeling unnecessarily disappointed, overscheduling us, focusing on a work goal that could easily wait until after the break, or letting some minor issue between John and I take over our communication. This year I was really praying that our break would be protected from all my tendencies to allow the lesser things to sabotage this precious time together. It was a wonderful break!!! Some big moments are pictured here as well as small. Many are missing because I chose not to pick up my camera. It’s ok – I treasure them all.


The kids had school all the way through the 23rd, so the festivities began immediately with a Christmas Eve brunch at my parents their very first morning off.


One guess who that little girl is (was?) Here’s a hint: I don’t have any sisters.


I loved these little angels so much. I tried every year to be the one who unwrapped them and hung them on the tree. They were so heavy you had to hang them way back near the trunk where they were hidden among the branches. I’m glad my mom decided to start putting them on the mantle.


As you can see, my parents have retro wood paneling and gold-toned linoleum floor through their basement with very little natural light. These pictures were going to be warm… there was just no getting around it and no editing it out.


Considering all the Nerf guns that were going to be gifted and received this Christmas, my parents felt some eye protection was in order.


They may have had a point.


Loving the streaks of light the tree was reflecting onto the wood paneling there in the left of the pictures. But John just kept hanging around in the scene and I never got the shot I envisioned. That’s great, because I’ll remember how John spent the morning keeping Joshua and Nicholas  grateful and calm (two monumental tasks for little kids at Christmas) while I chatted with family.


I can’t believe I have two pictures of this in here, but there are things I loved about both. In the first, the harmony of colors which NEVER happens for me in random pictures, because my kids don’t even bother matching their tops to their bottoms, more less coordinating with one another for the sake of my photos 🙂


And in this one, I just loved all the different stages of life represented in the cups, from toddler to kid to breakfast-beer-drinker to desperately-tired-coffee-consumer.


John does this all the time – he wraps his whole hand around the kids heads and gives them a hearty, smacking kiss on the cheek.


I don’t have any pictures of our Christmas Eve service, but it was special and wonderful. The next morning, the kids woke us up and we rolled over in bed after telling them to search for their hidden stockings. (Pro parenting tip, btw – this gives you at least 20 minutes to wake up and get into a Christmas frame of mind after staying up late cooking for Christmas dinner and wrapping last minute presents!) By the time I came down and got out my camera, Nicholas had consumed roughly 3lbs of Reeses cups and gummy worms.


That’s it. No more Christmas pictures at all, except for just ONE of a pretty special little family that came (along with the rest of the John’s side) to Christmas dinner.


It was then that Nicholas received his favorite present EVER – a light saber. I begged my sister-in-law Linda to leave out the batteries but she told me I was a mean mom and I gave in.


The Monday after Christmas we went to the U.S. Botanic Gardens with wonderful old friends – there were about 30 of us moving through the gardens and down the National Mall together!


It had been a long 3 days!!


Tuesday was so warm, we parked in Rock Creek Park and rollerbladed/walked into the National Zoo. The first picture of Jack in this whole post and of course it’s of his back. He’s so elusive when the camera is out!!!


Joshua found a huge stalk of “BIM-BAM-BOO” (his words) on the ground.


We wandered through a few of our favorite exhibits while we waiting for it to be dark enough for the zoo lights to come on.


I didn’t consider the “walking through Rock Creek Park in pitch black” part of the plan when I pitched it to John. We left after the gates were shut down and had to climb though one fence and then over another to get back on the pathway.


We spent plenty of time at home also, including many cozy evenings watching movies and playing Trivia or Wits and Wagers.


This is a typical Marcus pose. Have you ever tried to sit like that? He can hold it indefinitely.


Christmas with a toddler.


Nicholas spends a lot of time in his time-out chair these days. Uncle Joseph put himself in timeout with him on New Year’s Eve.


Eventually everyone went home and/or to bed and Marcus and I stayed up to midnight together. John took this pic the next night – the night before they went back to school. So sad – too fast.


Monday, Nicholas and I packed up the tree and he said, “Bye-bye [name of the ornament]. See you next year!”


And it’s back to life as… “normal” 🙂


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